Is there any way out of this three-game hole the Capitals have dug for themselves against the Islanders?
Well, when the ever-positive Craig Laughlin can't find anything nice to say about you, you're probably in deep trouble.
"This is unlike being down two-to-nothing to Columbus because, to me, in the Columbus series when they won the Cup, they dominated and were just down two-to-nothing so, sooner or later, the good play was gonna take over," he said. "Which it did after that Eller double-OT goal."
"So to me, this is a tough hill to climb, the way they're playing right now," he said. "You know, you've heard the adage 'we're gonna flip the switch.' Well, we've heard this too long and now I think it's too tough to flip a switch. They may win this one, but I don't see them going much farther than tonight."
Laughlin says it's a coin flip as to whether the Islanders dominating the first-round series 3-0 thus far is more the result of Barry Trotz's club over-performing or the Todd Reirden's Caps under-performing, though he suspects the mad dash to the playoffs after such a prolonged layoff favors a young team like the Islanders.
"It seems like in the bubble, the teams that are doing well and are able to adjust quickly have been the young teams and the young players," he said. "I look at the Caps and I always thought, you know, after that four-month layoff that you see at the start of the year that older players take longer time to get into a groove.
"Case in point, for example, in Alex Ovechkin. Even though he's done well and he's probably been their best forward, he's not playing say, like, at the start of the year, October, November and then December, I saw Alex Ovechkin, and it takes the veteran hand guys, the goal-scorers a lot longer."
"So to me, this has been a double whammy for the Caps," he said. "Number one, they're not playing well, and number two, their top players are having a tough time getting back into the groove. They think maybe it's just regular season — that's what it is in their body clocks — and all of a sudden it's hard to get right into the competitive nature of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"So to me, that's what's gone wrong, and the teams that are gonna be successful are the young teams. Case in point, the St. Louis Blues are also struggling. The Caps are the second-oldest team in the final six teams, so to me, a lot of those things hold true."